Good morning, and welcome to out rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
There are only 8 days to Christmas, but many people have got their festive shopping in early, it seems.
British retail sales jumped by 1.4% in November, data just released show, thanks to strong trading around Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas, the Office for National Statistics says.
It puts retail sales 4.7% higher than a year earlier when many shops had to shut in England’s 2020 lockdown.
Spending at clothes stores jumped by 2.9%, lifting clothing volumes above their pre-coronavirus levels for the first time.
Other non-food store, such as computer stores, toy stores and jewellery stores, racked up 2.8% growth.
And the proportion of retail sales online fell to its lowest since the first lockdown in March 2020 – making up 22.6% of spending — as people returned to high streets and retail malls.
Retail sales also rose in October, after five months of falls. Today’s figures suggest consumer spending had held up well — before the omicron variant hit the economy at the end of the month.
The ONS’s deputy director for surveys and economic indicators, Heather Bovill, says retail sales picked up last month:
But omicron is now casting a shadow over the economy, of course. The work-from-home guidance introduced last week under plan B measures in England has left city centres depopulated, and hospitality firms warn that trading had plunged.
And yesterday’s surprise interest rate from the Bank of England, and the possibility of more next year, could also weigh on spending.
- 7am GMT: Retail sales across Great Britain for November
- 7am GMT: New European Union car registrations for November
- 9am GMT: German Ifo business climate survey
- 10.30am GMT: Bank of Russia’s interest rate decision
- Noon GMT: Bank of England quarterly bulletin